CD+DVD Reviews

Weather Report – “Forecast: Tomorrow” – Special Boxed Set of 3 CDs + live concert DVD – Columbia/Legacy

Fascinating survey of the fusion group's 15-year history

Published on October 7, 2006

Weather Report – “Forecast: Tomorrow” – Special Boxed Set of 3 CDs + live concert DVD – Columbia/Legacy
Weather Report – “Forecast: Tomorrow” – Special Boxed Set of 3 CDs + live concert DVD, 37 tracks on CDs – Columbia/Legacy 82796 93604 2 ****:

Many of us may have a single Weather Report CD or LP in our collection but may not have been closely following the band during its 15-year existence.  If so, this packed collection surveying some of the best tracks from the well-known jazz-rock fusion group will be a revelation. I began with the two-hour-long video DVD, which preserves a concert videotaped in Germany at the height of their career and featuring the late electric bass guitarist Jaco Pastorius.  It was a stunning reintroduction to the group for me, although a little long for someone not a slavish fusion fan.  You’ll want to have your LFE channel properly balanced with the rest of your speaker system; mine was originally a bit too high level for Pastorius’ rumbling bass lines. Drummer Peter Erskine rounds out the quartet for the video concert, which presents mostly tunes also heard on the three CDs. There is evidently also an illustrated booklet with this set, but I can’t comment on it since it wasn’t provided with my review copies.

Weather Report was founded in l970 by Wayne Shorter and Joe Zawinul. Both promising jazz stars gave up important positions with Miles Davis in Shorter’s case, and Cannonball Adderley in Zawinul’s. The influence of rock and soul music was creating changes in the jazz world at that time, and mainstream jazz had fallen on hard times. Incorporating elements of what was the most exciting and saleable in music at the time – the likes of Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, Sly Stone – held out prospects for better audiences for jazz groups. At first Weather Report stumbled a bit in their fusion efforts, but they soon – especially with Zawinul’s unique composing chops – found exciting ways to include not only rock and soul elements but also world music into their work.  Advances in electronic musical instruments and in the technology of the recording studio also helped their cause.

The 37 tracks on the three CDs present an engrossing overview of the inventive sounds of Weather Report as it changed its sidemen and style within the fusion genre.  Two of the tracks had not been previously released at all. In the progression of the compilation one can discern gradually more advanced harmonic development and more imaginative usage of electronics in the music.  The rhythmic influence of both South America and Africa also becomes more prominent. In spite of the host of new not-before-heard tracks in the collection, my favorites remained In a Silent Way and Birdland, probably due to my long familiarity with them. 

Tracks

Disc: 1
1. In A Silent Way
2. Super Nova
3. Experience In E Major (Excerpt)
4. Milky Way
5. Tears
6. Eurydice (Full Version)
7. Orange Lady
8. Unknown Soldier
9. Directions
10. Surucucu
11. Second Sunday In August
12. 125th Street Congress

Disc: 2

1. Nubian Sundance (Live)
2. Blackthorn Rose
3. Badia
4. Cannon Ball
5. Black Market
6. Three Clowns
7. Havona
8. Birdland
9. Palladium
10. The Pursuit Of The Woman With The Feathered Hat
11. The Orphan
12. Sightseeing

Disc: 3

1. Dream Clock
2. Three Views Of A Secret
3. Port Of Entry (Live)
4. Dara Factor Two
5. Procession
6. Plaza Real
7. The Well
8. D-Flat Waltz
9. Domino Theory
10. Predator
11. Face On The Barroom Floor
12. Indiscretions
13. 125th Street Congress (DJ Logic Remix)

- John Henry



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